WEBSTER CITY - District football can now legally buy beer.
Stick with it for a second. There's a point coming.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City spinback Alex Oswald, facing on left, lofts a pass towards the corner of the end zone against Algona last week. Riding a four-game winning streak, the Lynx will host rival Clear Lake tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association adopted district football at the start of the 1992 season, and now in its 21st season one fact stands out: Clear Lake has lost back-to-back district games only twice - the last coming in October of 1997.
Is that about to change?
If Webster City has anything to say about it, the answer is an emphatic yes.
Rivals Webster City (4-1, 3-0) and Clear Lake (3-2, 1-1) will meet tonight at Lynx Field with Class 3A District 3 bragging rights on the line. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
A Lynx victory would solidify their stance at the top of the district standings and nearly assure them of a fifth consecutive trip to the playoffs. The Lions - coming off a stunning 26-10 loss to Humboldt last week - need a win to reaffirm their mission of another district crown.
"It's a huge game with a lot of district implications," Clear Lake head coach Fred Wieck, who is 15-5 all-time against WCHS and 13-0 since 1997, said. "Webster City has to be the district favorite right now. We stumbled last week and that's put our backs against the wall, so hopefully we'll play a little bit wounded."
The parity in District 3 this season - only the Lynx are unbeaten, while the Lions, Iowa Falls-Alden and Humboldt all sit with just one loss - proves that anything can happen and nothing is a given.
"It's great to be in a position where we're playing in big games, and (the rivalry) is as even as it's been," WCHS head coach Bob Howard said. "It's going to be a big game and hopefully the kids are going to have a lot of fun with it."
WCHS senior tight end/defensive tackle Boone Myers was on the field for every snap a season ago when the then No. 1-ranked Lions held off the then No. 2 Lynx, 28-27, in what turned out to be the battle for district royalty. But it's a new year, and he's leaving the past in the past.
"I don't really think about last year. We just have to get better to be able to beat those guys this year," Myers said. "They're a good team and I'm sure they'll respond well to being down. They're going to come out and look for some revenge."
WCHS ranks eighth in the class in rushing yards with 1,275 - a big reason why the Lynx have won four consecutive games. Junior tailback Connor Larson is eighth in 3A and tops the district with 542 yards and eight touchdowns, and he averages 6.8 yards per carry.
Spinback Alex Oswald (397 yards rushing) and wingback Trey Tesdahl (222 yards rushing) rank fourth and 10th in the district.
"This looks like a pretty typical Webster City team," Wieck said. "Man, you have to be disciplined on defense trying to defend that single wing."
But Howard knows his team will be facing a stingy defense. The Lions' Pete Swenson and Connor Nosbisch have combined for 17 tackles for loss already, and Clear Lake has held three of its five opponents to 12 points or fewer.
"They're very good on defense and we know that," Howard said. "We've got to be a lot more consistent on offense."
WCHS - winners of eighth straight home games - is no slouch on defense either. The unit has allowed just 14 points per game during the recent four-game run.
Linebackers Nelson Ball and Rylee Lawson own 30 and 29 solo tackles, respectively, and Myers has 19, including three stops in the backfield.
They'll face a Clear Lake offense that is not afraid to run or pass. Cody Maulsby leads the ground attack with 390 yards; Chase Lester and Brock Adams have combined to throw for 549 yards and four touchdowns.
But when rivals meet, oftentimes you can throw numbers right out the window. Oswald says it could come down to which team wants it more.
"It's like any other football game, but it's Clear Lake," he said. "We're going to have more fire, they're going to have more fire, especially coming off a loss, so it's going to be a heck of a game."